7:57am, 13 May 2022
The Brumbies were coming off a 3-0 record against New Zealand sides and this match we set to be the game of the round against the third-placed Crusaders.
The Brumbies got off to a fast start, with Irae Simone crossing the line and applying enough downward pressure for the refs to award a try. Inevitably, the Crusaders hit back with two tries of their own and extended the lead by taking the three points whenever they ventured into Brumbies territory.
The Brumbies struck back quickly after half-time, but uncharacteristic mistakes allowed the Crusaders back into the match. It was a frantic finish to the end of the game, but the Crusaders were able to hold out the Brumbies to close out the game 37-26.
Here’s how the Brumbies rated:
1. James Slipper – 6/10
Playing in his 50th match for the Brumbies. Was pressured early in the scrum but was able to adjust. Carried five times and made seven tackles.
2. Lachlan Lonergan – 6
His shaky lineout throws gifted possession to the Crusaders on more than one occasion. Was outmuscled at scrum time but worked around the park.
3. Allan Alaalatoa – 6
Held up his side of the scrum and made 10 tackles in a big defensive effort. Ran himself into the ground. Subbed in the 60th minute.
4. Darcy Swain – 6.5
Continues to be the competition leader in lineout defence and put pressure on the Crusaders lineout and maul throughout the game, as well as making 13 tackles around the park. Was targeted five times in the lineout.
5. Cadeyrn Neville – 7
His work rate is why he’s gaining the attention of Wallabies, and again he made plenty of carries a did a lot of the nitty-gritty immeasurables. Lost the ball in the lineout just as the Brumbies wrestled back momentum in the first half but made up for it with an important steal in the second half. Replaced by Frost in the 54th minute.
6. Tom Hooper 7.5
Carried hard and played well above his weight. Was one of the best Brumbies forward on the ground. He was able to switch back seamlessly between performing the roles of lock and flanker during the match, making nine carries, recording a team-high 15 tackles as well as playing an important role in the lineout.
7. Jahrome Brown – 5.5
Struggled to make his usual impact and impose himself on the match. Brumbies lost a carrying weapon when he left the game. Was subbed at halftime with a pulled groin.
8. Pete Samu – 6.5
Was a warrior in defence, making nine tackles and putting his body on the line. It was a tough-fought battle at the breakdown and Samu caused the Crusaders headaches all night. Was also targeted four times in the lineout.
9. Nic White – 6.5
Was quick to the ruck to get the Brumbies on the front foot. His tactical kicking kept the Brumbies in the game by peeling off territory. Subbed off in the 57th minute.
10. Rodney Iona – 5.5
Was charged down by the Crusaders which lead to Cody Taylor’s try, then 5 minutes later spilt a grubber kick allowing it to fall into Reece’s hands for the Crusaders’ second try. Came out in the second half with much more control. Made a break up the middle to give the brumbies a sniff.
11. Andy Muirhead – 6
Made a lot of great tackles on his wing. Was good in the air under the high ball when the Crusaders peppered the Brumbies back three.
12. Irae Simone – 7
Opened the scoring for the Brumbies by just getting enough pressure down on the ball over the line and scored the Brumbies’ second rights after halftime by running a hard, direct line. He was excellent on defence again.
13. Len Ikitau – 6
Was contained pretty well in the first half but as the game broke open late he was able to break the line six times for 49 metres. Made 12 tackles in an assured defensive effort.
14. Tom Wright – 7
Was evasive all game, making good decisions when to run and when to kick and was able to peel off a game-high 142 metres. He lost the ball close to the line off a pick and go when the Brumbies were hammering the Crusaders line. He made a crucial interception to score a try in the 72nd minute.
15. Tom Banks – 6
Combined well with Wright to probe the Crusaders defence for gaps but it was hard going to find space out wide. As the game opened up he was able to make 80 metres off 10 runs.
16. Folau Fainga’a – 7
Subbed on in the second half to bolster the scrum and control the ball at the back of the Brumbies’ powerful maul. Scored from close out to put the Brumbies within striking distance.
17. Scott Sio – 6
On in the 65th minute. The veteran prop but in another impressive showing and put Banks in a handy hole.
18. Tom Ross – 5.5
On in the 60th minute. Backed up his forwards around the park and made some hard carries.
19. Nick Frost – 6
Made an impact at lineout time and made six tackles.
20. Luke Reimer – 7
Came on to start the second half and won some crucial turnovers at the breakdown. Tackled his heart out and put pressure on the Crusaders attack.
21. Rory Scott – N/A
On in the 65th minute.
22. Ryan Lonergan – 6.5
On in the 57th-minute mark. Picked up the pace for the Brumbies, directing his forwards into holes and making challenging probes to keep the Crusaders guessing.
23. Ollie Sapsford – N/A
On in the 72nd minute.
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